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Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Profile: From playing professional basketball to leading FC’s A2MEND program

Assistant basketball coach for the Hornets, Marshall Johnson, talked about his path to becoming passionate about basketball and impacting students’ lives for the better.
Melissa Serrato
Marshall Johnson was hired as the new special projects manager for Fullerton College’s A2MEND program on Aug. 15, 2023.

Hornets’ basketball assistant coach Marshall Johnson wants to have an impact on Fullerton College students’ life in and out of school. Since being selected as the A2MEND special projects manager, he has more room to do so. However, his experiences as a kid, in his college years and in the professional world brought this passion to him.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Johnson later moved to Santa Monica where he went to Palisades Charter High School. He then attended Azusa Pacific University and went to Concordia University for grad school with his master’s in Media Studies and Exercise Science.

Before he joined Hornets’ Basketball as an assistant coach, Johnson had played basketball at Azusa Pacific University for four years, then continued to play professionally in Australia for two seasons.

Johnson said that his older brother was the main influence on his basketball career, as he was taught how to play by him. He also said that he likes LeBron James as a basketball player, but was mainly inspired by Kevin Garnett, who was drafted by his home state team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. The energy and passion Garnett showed while playing keeps inspiring him to this day.

“When I played in college, my number was 21, which was his number [Garnett’s],” said Johnson.

After being overseas for some time, Johnson sought out a different career. He went to Concordia University to teach basketball, and has continued to teach for 10 years and counting. Coming over to FC, Johnson was familiar with the high set of expectations for the Men’s Basketball team, since he had been friends with the Fullerton College head basketball coach Perry Webster.

“Since being here, Perry has been at the top of the state. So, expectations are high to move our guys forward and raise that banner [during] our first year together,” said Johnson.

Assistant Hornets’ basketball coach Marshall Jonhson speaks to the team before playing in the CCCAA State Championship game. Johnson has been named the new A2MEND’s special projects manager effective Aug. 15, 2023. (Phil Thurman)

Seen as a great candidate by President Cynthia Olivo and Vice President Gilbert Contreras, Johnson was offered a position as A2MEND’s Special Projects Program Manager. This program was created to provide support services to African American male junior college students and faculty statewide.

Fullerton College received $75,000 to help with men of color initiatives. Johnson, alongside other faculty members such as the senior coordinator of athletics Marcia Foster, are in charge of finding those initiatives that Black students could benefit from.

Johnson said he has spoken to other A2MEND special projects managers ranging from UC Riverside to Stanford University, who advised him on how to help students of color and for he himself to succeed in this new position.

“A lot of the time, our males don’t know what’s available. So for me, it’s getting them past those finish lines, whatever may be in their lives. That’s my sole journey here,” said Johnson.

Outside of his job, Johnson and his family own a ranch that they frequently visit on the weekends. There, he enjoys riding four wheelers and barbecuing smoked ribs and different kinds of steak.

Cooking overall is one of his favorite pastimes, alongside watching basketball and listening to music. His favorite artist is Bob Marley, but he has recently been listening to Diddy’s “The Love Album.”

“If I could choose any place to be in music, it would be 90s R&B with the curly hair and the flashy shirts,” said Johnson.

Assistant Hornets’ basketball coach Marshall Johnson hugs sophomore guard Shaquil Bender during the CCCAA State Championship at Lemoore College in March 2023. Johnson has now been tasked with working in FC’s A2MEND program as its special projects manager. (Phil Thurman)

Johnson is set to continue being a big part in Black students lives with his ability to listen and guide students to achieve their goals. He said he has a passion for helping students that is unmatched.

“You spend the most time with yourself. Right? So, love yourself and love everything you do. I think that shows confidence. You never know who’s inspired by you. So carry yourself that way,” said Johnson. “When I’m speaking to you and you’re telling me about yourself, I’m locked in to helping you with whatever it is going on in your life.”

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About the Contributor
Romina Gonzalez
Romina Gonzalez, Staff Reporter
Romina Gonzalez is a first semester staff reporter on The Hornet. She joined The Hornet to get a better look into what goes into writing articles. As of now, Romina is trying out different careers she's interested in pursuing for the future. During her free time, she likes watching reality TV and hanging out with friends.

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